Father's Day at the Speedway

Racing is a family affair at Roseville's racetrack
By: Jeannie Broussal, Special to The Press Tribune
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Everyone knows that fathers and mothers are different, but when it comes to parents of racecar drivers, the fathers really are a different breed. Generally, the fathers are more physically involved with their son or daughter's racing, and more often than not, the fathers have been either racecar drivers themselves, or have worked on a race team. If the father happens to have a daughter racing, he is much more protective of her and his tolerance for bad behavior from other drivers is low. The commonality between racing dads seems to be the their joy while spending time with their family at the racetrack, and the satisfaction they get when their racing son or daughter succeed in what they are doing. Ron Brady, whose daughter Shannon Mansch drives the No. 61 Late Model car, has always been supportive of her racing. "When she was a kid she was very good driving a dune-buggy that we had,” Brady said. “It didn't scare her at all. I knew she would race one day." Brady himself raced Bombers and Street Stocks. At the time he was racing, Mansch was too young to get into the pits, but she and her mom were always in the grandstands watching him race. Late Model driver Matt Scott comes from a racing family. Not only did his father race, but his two uncles and his grandfather were also racers. "I raced for about a half a season in the Mini Stock division at All American,” said Scott’s father Mike. “When Matt was one year old, I won my first trophy dash and he got to be with me in trophy lane. That was pretty special." He also said that Matt has had to give up some of the normal things guys grow up doing, because of his desire to race. Jim Philpot, father of Modified driver Jason Philpot, worked as a mechanic on his brother's Modified car for 20 years. He said he has never been interested in driving himself because he loves being a mechanic. He also said sharing in Jason's racing success is one of the things that as a dad, he looks forward to. Dads may also be tapped to help on the financial end. What else is new? "Racing is very expensive now," Brady said, "but Shannon and her husband enjoy it, so I stand behind them and help as much as I can. Shannon has been through a lot more than people think. When she started, women weren't welcome in the sport. She has been called the worst names you can call a woman. She's been spit on and a guy once paid another driver $50 to take her out and she ended up in the hospital." He also said that her cars were usually torn down, even before qualifying. He said the guys would laugh because they thought Shannon would not make the race because of the tear down, but most of the time, they made it out and then she would set fast time and that really made the guys mad. Brady is grateful for the time he gets to spend with his daughter on and off the racetrack. He also said they are very close, and he is grateful for that. Mike Scott said working on his son's team is something he does for his son. "I feel very proud of his accomplishments, he's earned them," Mike Scott said. "We work hard as a family together. It has always been his choice to race; I have never pushed him. He has a lot of passion to race, and as long as he has that passion I will support him. The best Father's Day present is to be with my family. As long as they are safe and healthy, that's all that matters." Jim Philpot said everyone on his son's team works as a team. We talk, and try to make the car better, and then give it a whirl," Philpot said. "We have learned many things a long the way. You have to just try different things and keep plugging away." Philpot also said racing brings his whole family close together. "Of course we have disagreements," he said, "but we work through them.” He thinks Jason has matured through his years of racing, both on and off the track. "He's gotten a lot smarter, and he uses that knowledge to benefit every aspect of his life,” Jim Philpot said. “You need time away from the racetrack too, but when you come to race you better come with your guns loaded." They are celebrating Father's Day at the track this Saturday when All American Speedway is hosting Whelen Night at the tract to honor Whelen Engineering. There will be Late Model. Street Stock, Bomber and Modified racing as well as giveaways of Mixed Martial Arts, Monster Truck and Demolition Derby tickets.